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A Tummy Ache and a Whale of a Metaphor is the twelfth episode of the second season of the American sitcom Young Sheldon. The episode aired on January 10, 2019.


While recovering in the hospital from having a stage 4 malignant tumor removed, Sheldon annoys the hospital staff; but in the end he makes a new friend.


In English class, Sheldon complains of stomach ache, and desires to see the nurse. His classmate Derek sees to go see the nurse. When his classmate Derek gives him a sarcastic look, Sheldon reiterates it. He hurries off to see nurse Nora.   Adult Sheldon reminisces the multiple times he and nurse Nora had in the past; from the false alarms of leprosy to hysterical blindness to scurvy. This time, he suspects cholera and a pain level of 3.47 out of 10. Nora gives him antacid and informs George, who is unbothered. His colleague laughs. Things turn worse in Ms. Evelyn's Math class when Sheldon starts to groan. Adult Sheldon remembers his pain zooming up to a 4.9 this time after nurse Nora reprieved it temporarily.   George drives Sheldon home and Mary takes care of him. When he complains of pain, Missy speaks of twins feeling each other's pain, but is rebuffed by Mary for wanting to skipping school.   George, Mary and Georgie are watching TV. George asks Mary to relax, who's visibly worried. Georgie feels jealous because his ailments are never an issue at home, whereas with Sheldon; Mary acts like it's the end of the world. Mary says it's because he's growing to be a strong man while Sheldon is still a fragile little boy. Georgie concurs admitting that puberty has done right by him. Suddenly, Missy walks in panicking about Sheldon's condition and they all rush in. They take Sheldon to the hospital.  Meanwhile, Missy and Georgie are at Meemaw's. Connie inquires about Sheldon and informs the siblings about him needing a gallbladder extraction surgery. Meemaw corrects Missy saying it is not his urinary bladder.

George and Mary wait outside the operating room. Mary prays and George feels guilty for having belittling Sheldon's ailment. Meanwhile, the surgeon leads the time-out informing Sheldon about the administration of anesthesia and how they'll make a small incision to snatch the boy right out of there. Sheldon cringes at the surgeon's choice of words and starts questioning his qualifications, college education, alcohol consumption and his sleep pattern. The anesthetist shortly administers in the gas and Sheldon is now sedated. While they perform the surgery, Sheldon dreams about leading a pirate ship where he and his whole family are steering towards a dead gallbladder whilst communicating with each other in pirate vernacular.   Back home, Connie puts Missy to sleep and retires for the night. Worried, Missy looks over at Sheldon's empty bed and shifts over to it with her cabbage patch doll trying to sleep. Outside the OR, George impatiently tells Mary about how they were told it'd be an hour and a half procedure, but it's almost two hours. When he rises up to give someone an earful, the surgeon steps out informing about the successful cholecystectomy and Sheldon having to stay home for three to four days for post-op care. George and Mary are happy parents and they share a hug.   Soon, the Cooper family come down to meet Sheldon. Georgie and Missy ask to see the extracted gallbladder, only for the nurse to tell them that the gallbladder has been discarded; Sheldon wants to leave the hospital, to no avail. The staff tries to cheer him up with jello and clown acts. He also dislikes their attempts and pulp juice. When Mary walks him the hallway and return to the room, he discovers he has a new roommate named Ricky. When he gets back from his stroll, Sheldon is alarmed to see a new patient roommate named Ricky. He soon inquires the nurse if Ricky's got something contagious. She says no but he wants a doctor's word as she's not a doctor and has long limited her career making it stall at a nurse's position. Having had enough, she sternly tells him to make do with the situation and to stop complaining. Sheldon refuses to watch the boxing or cartoons on the hospital TV. Ricky, from across the curtains, asks him to calm down and relax. Sheldon is offended at the bacterial playground. Ricky reveals that the reason why he is in the hospital is due to a hole in his heart; Sheldon reveals that he was here for removal of his gallbladder. Sheldon starts to bond with Ricky. Ricky only found out after fainting during a soccer match. They discuss their family backgrounds and Sheldon learns how Ricky and his brother have been living with their grandma; this living situation is the reason why he wants to get healthy fast and relieve his grandma from worrying about him.

At home, Missy makes a “Welcome Home” sign for Sheldon and Connie finds it very thoughtful, with the W alone took her 30 minutes of work. When Meemaw asks for help, she gets Georgie involved instead. The next day, as Sheldon wakes up anxious as Ricky is missing. Missy says he has went into surgery while wrapping up for Sheldon's discharge. As they leave, Sheldon leaves an Iron Man comic book as a gift for Ricky at the nurse's station.

Sheldon is greeted at home and the family is back to its round table dinner. Missy says she missed Sheldon. Mary says Ricky's surgery was successful and if he wants to visit, an offer rebuffed by Sheldon. George surprises him with a gift at the dinner table – a Precision Astronomical Refractor Telescope! Sheldon's guilt-ridden dad kept showering him with gifts until the football playoffs started, as did his gift drought!





  • Vernee Watson as Nurse Robinson
  • Mauricio Lara as Ricky
  • Nick Alvarez as Derek




  • This song was "Bad Reputation" by Joan Jett and also theme song entrance of WWE Superstar and UFC Hall of Famer "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey.